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What are Hemorrhoids | Piles?


Surrounding the anus and extending inwards and upwards along the rectum are several clusters of intricate veins designed to quickly drain blood from the area and return it to the liver and heart.  A number of factors can cause these "hemorrhoidal" veins to become distended and swollen, at which point the sufferer is said to have either a hemorrhoid or hemorrhoids, or a pile or piles, where each term has the same meaning. Hemorrhoids (or piles) can thus be defined as swollen blood vessels located in the rectal area (similar to the varicose veins found in the legs) and they may sometimes become very painful. 
 
For the sake of clarity, the American spelling of Hemorrhoid or Hemorrhoids is the English equivalent of Haemorrhoid or Haemorrhoids and being a difficult word to spell, other variants are commonly encountered which include both Hemroid and Hemroids.  This website will generally use the American spelling but will also use the other variants from time to time. 
 
 

Haemorrhoids/Piles symptoms are common


Haemorrhoids are common in industrialized societies and may begin to form in a person's early 20's, but not make their presence known until they reach their 40's. Females are afflicted more often than males. There are two main types of hemorrhoids; those that form internally within the lower lining of the rectum (in the area inside and above the opening or anus) and those that appear as an external bulge around the opening of the anus. Both types may be present at the same time.
 
 

Internal Hemorrhoids


Internal Hemorrhoids usually first make their presence known when spots of bright red blood appear on the stool or in the toilet bowl before, during or after elimination. They are not generally painful because there are few sensory nerve endings in the area where they form.  An internal Haemorrhoid may eventually protrude (prolapse) out through the anus and become irritated and painful.  If left protruding, there is an increased likelihood that a blood clot (or painful thrombosed haemorrhoid) will form.
 
Internal Hemorrhoids may deteriorate through four stages as follows:
 
1. The swollen blood vessels are present but not directly felt.
 
2. The haemorrhoids protrude during defecation and retract unaided.
 
3. The haemorrhoids protrude but do not retract unaided.
 
4. The haemorrhoids protrude but cannot be returned
 
Each phase can be accompanied with bleeding. As mentioned previously, bleeding hemorrhoids are not necessarily painful but pain may become acute in the last stage (stage 4).
 
 

External Haemorrhoids


External Hemorrhoids form when veins surrounding the anus become swollen for a time.  External hemorrhoids may appear as a circular purplish bulge adjacent to the anal opening.  The swelling is sensitive to pressure and therefore often very painful. It carries a potential to form a painful blood clot (a thrombosed hemorrhoid) if strangulation of the blood flow occurs. 
 

General Hemorrhoid Symptoms


Haemorrhoid symptoms may involve irritation, burning, pain and discomfort, as well as swelling, bleeding and inflammation.  The itching that is often present is more likely to have indirect rather than directly related causes. Enlarged, hemroids may interfere with the closing of the anus, allowing mucous discharge and soiling of underwear.  Although rare, severe bleeding may occur, leading to iron deficiency anaemia from long-term blood loss.  Other anorectal problems, such as
anal fissures/fistula, or abscesses may often be mistakenly called haemorrhoids.
 
 

Diagnosis


While bleeding from the rectum or blood in the stool is usually a first sign of internal haemorrhoids, it may also be a symptom of other diseases of the digestive tract, including colorectal cancer.  It is therefore most important that if blood in the stool or bleeding from the rectum be noticed, a thorough evaluation and proper diagnosis should be made by a competent and qualified medical doctor.  This should be done even if other symptoms have already confirmed the existence of hemorrhoids. 
 
This discussion "What are Hemorrhoids | Piles?" is not intended to be a substitute for a medical examination.  If you have any symptoms that are causing concern, do not delay undergoing a proper medical examination. 

What are Hemorrhoids | Piles?

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